Later today, my friend Kallie and I will be strategically setting traps filled with tuna and stinky canned food in an attempt to catch a few of our neighborhood cats. Since we never do anything the simple way, instead of trying to catch just one (this is our first time doing this, after all), we’re going to catch three.
There are actually at least five neighborhood cats that we would like to get- a small orange tabby, a black cat, a grey tabby that howls and is probably in heat, a grey and white tuxedo cat, and a stray around the corner that a nice elderly lady feeds. According to the Feral Cat Project, one female cat and her offspring are estimated to produce 100 cats in seven years. I don’t know about your neighborhood, but I’m pretty sure ours can’t support that many.
Quick side note: a feral cat is one that cannot be domesticated and made to be comfortable in a home environment. There isn’t anything wrong with these cats. They’re just fiercely independent. They would never be happy confined in a home or being held by an owner. If a feral cat finds itself in a traditional shelter, it will have a 100% chance of being killed because it is deemed unadoptable.
For many, the solution is to round them up and euthanize them. It’s more “humane” to get rid of them instead of letting them suffer on the streets, right? The problem with this is that feral cats aren’t suffering. They’re in fact very happy cats. If you have a few minutes, read through this newsletter put together by the No Kill Advocacy Center. Feral cats live perfectly fulfilling lives.
So that brings us back to our little project. Tonight, weather and luck willing, Kallie and I will have three feral cats each safely in their own trap ready to go. Tomorrow morning, they’re heading to CAP where they will be fixed and get their vaccinations. Then in a day or two, we will let them go back where we trapped them. The whole process is referred to as TNR, or Trap, Neuter and Return. Each kitty will have one ear tipped so other people will know they’ve been fixed. Be sure to follow our Facebook page for updates along the way!
If you’re interested in helping the feral cats in your neighborhood, check out these amazing Houston-area resources that have helped us so much with this project:
Friends for Life: Friends for Life is a great resource for learning more about TNR. They also rent out the traps for a fully-refundable deposit of $75 each. Thanks, FFL!
Citizens for Animal Protection: There are lots of places that give a discount on fixing feral cats, but CAP has a limited number of appointments for FREE. Watch their website for open appointment times.
Wish us luck!!